DMV EXPANDING HOURS TO MEET IMMIGRANT DEMAND: SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is expanding office hours as it prepares to issue an expected 1.4 million licenses to people in the country illegally.
The DMV announced Wednesday that it will expand Saturday hours at up to 60 field offices as of Jan. 3 — a day after Assembly Bill 60 takes effect. The extra time is set aside for appointments by people seeking their first California driver’s license.
Those seeking new licenses also will be able to scheduled DMV appointments 90 days in advance — double the current time period.
AB60 — signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year — allows people in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses by submitting identification from their home countries. The DMV expects to issue an additional 1.4 million licenses in the first three years of the measure.
LA TO PROVIDE BARRELS FOR HOME IRRIGATION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles is testing a program that will distribute barrels to encourage residents to capture rainwater for home irrigation.
Starting this weekend, the city will begin handing out a thousand barrels along with conversion kits to registered homeowners.
Mayor Eric Garcetti says in a statement that using rainwater to irrigate lawns and gardens conserves drinking water and lowers utility bills. He says the city must take innovative conservation measures while facing the ongoing drought.
The Coca-Cola company is donating the 45- to 55-gallon repurposed syrup barrels.
The barrels will be distributed over five sessions in different parts of the city, beginning Saturday at Los Angeles Valley College.
LOW-INCOME STUDENTS LARGELY SPARED TUITION HIKES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An independent think tank says financial aid and scholarships have largely spared students from low and some middle-income families from shouldering the cost of recent tuition increases at the University of California and California State University.
The Public Policy Institute of California said in a report issued Wednesday that even though in-state tuition increased an average of 64 percent at UC campuses during the height of the recession, most families with annual incomes under $110,000 that applied for federal financial aid did not end up paying more.
The same was true at Cal State schools for families making up to $75,000.
MOM CHASES SUSPECT IN SON’S MOLESTATION AT EATERY: ARCADIA (AP) — A man suspected of molesting a 10-year-old boy in the restroom of a Southern California restaurant was arrested after the child’s mother chased him down and security personnel detained him.
Police in Arcadia say Kwan Chow was taken into custody Monday on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a child.
The 31-year-old Monterey Park resident is being held on $200,000 bail and is due in court Thursday.
A preliminary investigation determined the boy was fondled in the restroom at a Dave and Busters restaurant. The child told his mother about the incident and she ran after the suspect.
BOXED TURKEYS SPILLED ON HIGHWAY WILL BE DONATED: SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — About 25,000 pounds of frozen boxed turkeys that an overturned tractor-trailer spilled on a Northern California freeway two weeks before Thanksgiving will be donated to a local food bank.
California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Bartlett tells KPIX that a health inspector determined the turkeys are still safe to eat.
The semi-truck also spilled an estimated 40 gallons of diesel fuel on Interstate 680 about 40 miles east of San Francisco, snarling traffic during the Wednesday morning commute.
The driver had minor injuries.
CHP Sgt. Joseph Azevedo said the driver took a highway off-ramp too quickly around 2:30 a.m., and the truck’s trailer flipped on its side.
The turkeys were headed to a wholesale distributor, who was going to deliver them to a big-box retail store
ARMY EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGES STEALING MILITARY GEAR: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — A former civilian U.S. Army employee has pleaded guilty to theft after being accused of stealing sophisticated military equipment from a Northern California depot and trading some of it for marijuana.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento says 38-year-old Devon Gregory Biggs, formerly of Reno, Nevada, pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft of government property from the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong in Lassen County.
Prosecutors say he stole machine gun components, night vision goggles, technology that uses lasers for Illumination and low-light video recording equipment. Officials previously said the equipment was valued at nearly $85,000 and had recently been returned from Afghanistan and Iraq.
They say he traded stolen equipment for marijuana at least once.
DEMOCRATIC REP. JULIA BROWNLEY WINS RE-ELECTION: SACRAMENTO (AP) — California freshman Democrat Julia Brownley survived her first re-election bid to Congress, gaining enough votes Wednesday to edge out Republican Jeff Gorell, while two other state congressional races remained too close to call.
Brownley and Gorell competed in a Democratic-leaning district mainly in Ventura County that is home to two naval bases and an Air National Guard base, making military and veterans issues a major emphasis of their campaigns.
Brownley was ahead by nearly 2,400 votes out of more than 157,000 cast. Ventura County officials estimated about 15,000 votes were left to count throughout the county and The Associated Press determined that was not enough for Gorell to overcome the deficit.
Brownley claimed victory Wednesday after the latest vote tally doubled her lead.
Elsewhere in California, five-term Democratic Congressman Jim Costa was virtually tied with Republican Johnny Tacherra in a Central Valley race that analysts had not expected to be close.
In the Sacramento area, new tallies gave Democratic Rep. Ami Bera a 711-vote lead over former Republican Congressman Doug Ose with an estimated 19,000 votes left to count countywide. The closely watched race was the nation’s most expensive, coming in at $19.6 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. Outside groups spent nearly $13.5 million to influence the race.